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Subject: Re: Thomas Beecham Quotes
From: Don <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Don <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Thu, 9 Mar 2017 21:23:23 -0700
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It's a wonder with this unending barrage of bon mots that Beecham had any
time to conduct at all.
Britten also stayed with the family of some friends of mine in Long Island
where he wrote Paul Bunyan.  He also got the idea for Peter Grimes on a
trip out to California around that time.  Koussevitzky became interested in
Britten's music and his foundation later commissioned Grimes.

On Thu, Mar 9, 2017 at 6:58 PM, Vesna Danilovic <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> On Thu, Mar 9, 2017 at 7:41 PM, donald kane <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>
> > This thread is one of the best we've ever had; I wish I could contribute
> > something new to it.  Was there ever a published collection of quotes
> from
> > Sir Thomas?
> >
>
> There is a delightful collection of anecdotes compiled by H. Atkins & A.
> Newman, BEECHAM STORIES. Yehudi Menuhin wrote an introduction.
>
>
> > Has anyone else ever wondered, as I have, what induced Beecham to spend
> > the war years in America, at a time when he was esteemed as an English
> > cultural "icon"?
>
>
> Yes, I've always wondered about it. I adore him as a conductor and his wit
> always brings a smile, but I couldn't escape a sense of discomfort and deep
> disappointment with his decision to leave England in the middle of blitz. I
> read about it in a memoir written by Berta Geissmar, THE BATON AND THE
> JACKBOOT. It's a fascinating and incredibly engaging memoir about the
> politics and music culture in her native Germany and then wartime London.
> Coming from a richly musical and intellectual family background, she became
> Furtwangler's secretary in the 1930s and then, thanks to Furtwangler's
> help, as a Jew had to escape to England as a Beecham's secretary. While
> Beecham was away from his native land  during the wartime, she loyally
> guarded his music library and possessions during the entire Blitz period.
> Returning with his new wife after the war, Beecham then simply abandoned
> her as his secretary. She adored him, as she did Furtwangler as well, and
> didn't write a single negative comment about him, but I thought that his
> wartime desertion of his country and then abandoning his loyal secretary
> after she had guarded his music and other possessions from bombs was
> contemptible.
>
> That said, I can't help but admiring his music-making (incidentally, both
> he and Furtwangler are my favorite conductors) and his wit & humor are
> always irresistible.
>
> Best, Vesna
>
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